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By: Marko Vuorinen
There are plenty of common landscape problems that can really mar the beauty of your yard. These problems range from something aesthetic to things that can actually affect the over all health of your landscape. When you encounter these problems, it is a good idea to fix them as soon as possible. If you have ideas of your own to fix landscape problems, so much the better. If not, here are some suggestions for making simple improvements to the landscape.

Side yards are usually among the most common of landscape problems. They are so narrow that they may be hard to maintain as far as lawn is concerned, and they also make better passages than practical places to play or sit. Sometimes they seem like the perfect place to store odd items and then simply turn into junk heaps. To prevent junky or barren side yard from tainting an otherwise beautiful landscape design, turn into a cottage garden or courtyard garden. Perennials and ornamental grasses, all in a variety of colors, are perfect for side yards. Turn it into a kind of wild little garden full of color. It will look beautiful and will not be an inviting place to stack junk. If you would still like to use the side yard as a pathway, it is possible to install a little pathway made from stone.

Excess mulch is a landscape problem that has pant health implications. The problem is especially prevalent near driveways, walkways, and lawns. Mulch often overflows from flowerbeds or gardens, and this can create an untidy look to the yard. Additionally, if you have too much mulch (preferred depth is 2 to 4 inches) you can damage the plants and cause root rot. There are a couple of thing that can be done to prevent mulch overflow (which can happen if you put 3 inches of mulch on top of the soil bed). One of the things you can do is to use ground cover plants along the borders. This will be attractive and help to contain the mulch. Another possibility is to lower the soil level about 3 inches. Then you can add the mulch and rather than being higher than a nearby hard permanent surface, the mulch will be level with it, but still performing its job of plant care.

Exposed air conditioners and swamp coolers can be very visible blights on the landscape. While this is mostly a problem of aesthetics, exposed appliances can be heated by the sun, causing them to work harder and use more energy. Both of these problems can be fixed simply by planting a small tree or a hedge. The offending appliance is screened from view, and the shade helps keep the unit cooler, resulting in lower energy bills. This can even be done in areas where space is at a premium: you can plant a narrow hedge of nandina (should be 30 inches from the unit) or you can add a trellis with a colorful vine or climbing roses.

There are areas in your landscape that are too small for grass, and sometimes you may have odd corners that are not feasible for you to plant grass. Most of these areas are near an entrance, or at the edge of a patio or deck. Some of them are near walkways. No matter where they are, these areas are hard to mow and otherwise maintain. Solutions to these problems are also varied. Making use of containers with plants is an attractive solution. One large container with one plant can be used, or it is possible to make a small container garden with a variety of plants in containers of various sizes, shapes, and colors. Problem areas such as these are also ideal locations for accent objects such as an obelisk, a stature or even topiary bushes. Water features can add cooling and soothing effects to your landscape, and there are a variety of water features that can be built to fit into nearly any space.

Solving landscape problems is not too difficult if you use a little creativity. These problems can transform eye sores into beautiful additions to your yard that create enjoyment for you and add distinction to your home environment.

Marko Vuorinen
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